The short answer to the question of what you want out of a plumber—or how to choose a plumber –is simply that “it depends on what you want.” You would probably pick a different plumber when your toilet explodes (the one who’s available RIGHT THAT SECOND!) than you would pick to, say, work with your contractor on your bathroom remodel, who might be yet a different plumber than you’d pick for dealing with that ongoing leaky faucet.
We have a lot of plumbers here on JobDeals, so how do you pick which one is right for you? Here are things to consider:
License, Bonding & Insurance—as with picking movers and maids, you want a plumber with all of his ducks in a row: a license to prove competency, bonding to make sure your property is protected, and insurance to make sure that if he’s injured on the job, he asks his insurance company for compensation…not you! Bonding isn’t as common with plumbers as with some types of workers, but license (or certification) and insurance are a MUST before you let anyone into your home.
Appointments—a good, reliable plumber will be busy, which is all the more reason to bring in a plumber now for a minor problem…if they know you’re a good customer already, they’remore likely to drop everything and come to you in an emergency! But that business means they may not be able to come look at your problem today. See whether they set a time window or an appointment. A time window can be fine, if they say they’ll be there between 9 and 11am, but sometimes they might just say “in the morning,” which is way too vague for a busy person like you! The best plumber will say that they’re going to be there at 10:30am (and then shows up on time).
Estimates—will the plumber you’re talking to give you a sense of what he costs? He may say he can’t give you a firm estimate until he actually sees the problem, but when you tell him what the problem is, he should be able to tell you what the most likely causes are, and how much it costs to fix those, so that you get a sense of what you’d have to pay. Also, will he charge you for coming out to look?
Experience—if you feel comfortable trying out the new guy, that’s commendable. But if your choice is between a plumber with two years’ experience and another with ten years’, the latter will have gone through a bigger variety of plumbing problems and may have an easier time diagnosing yours!
These are just a few of our tips— share your own in the comments about tips on hiring a plumber!